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8 tips for Horse Trail Riding

Are you someone who is considering horse trail riding for quite some time now? Why hesitate at all, now is the right time. With every season comes its own spectacular views and fun elements, so it is always a good time to ride your equine partner. The horse riding experience of the arena and on the trail are at two different poles altogether. With the addition of a new environment, the climate of geographical location, trail riding is exciting and overwhelming at the same time. You do not have to fret for we have got some trail riding tips for the rider in you. Let us dive right in, shall we?

1. Grasp basic horse riding ethos and lessons

If you are a novice to horseback riding in itself, it is highly recommended that you have an experienced guide by your side for this adventure. It isn’t necessarily the situation where the guide can ride for you, but facilitate the necessary knowledge and principles of horseback riding. Understanding everything from the basic level is extremely important. Something as simple as mounting might look difficult for the first few times. Getting hold of techniques and principles to follow while you are riding reduces the chances of any accidents and increases the level of fun in the journey. The basic principle with horse riding is the right understanding of pressure as horses are very receptive to pressure changes. The pressure you exert on the side of the horse with your leg is the basic setting for directing the horse in a new direction. The tugging of reins a bit helps them slow down. So the right grasp of these basic principles, and way of doing things is necessary before catapulting to trails. 

2. Check and prep for the season accordingly

Horse trail riding is usually a very common phenomenon during the summer months but it isn’t a fast-paced rule or anything. You could take a trail ride anytime around the year until and unless you have the necessary knowledge and idea to tread through the region with safety in mind. The weather check on the day of trail riding is necessary as this information helps you to prep for the right gear and equipment that the environment demands of you. A rain jacket during the rain or having an extra set of clothes if crossing rivers is part of the trail will leave you feel prepared and add to lessen the overall anxiety. Preparing an extra set of tack could also help with the smooth journey ahead. 

3. Choosing the right attire

Dressing up for the trail is as important as dressing up to check on the environment. Do not opt for jeggings, Capri pants, or anything that is non-riding pants category as this could lead to severe chaffing after the trail ride. Opt for long pants that are either jeans or breeches made of breathable fabric. Wearing multiple layers of clothes is always the trick. If it is winter, bundle up with a very thick top layer and a thin inner layer as horseback riding sure heats you. For summer, a light outer layer could suffice and do the job. It is very tempting especially in summers to avoid long plaid shirts but this could help with avoiding sunburns and dehydration at the most. The shoes could be anything that closes off the toes but the most preferred option is boots that are of low heels. These help with the right placement in the stirrups and avoid any slip up if at all. The helmet is a non-compromising part of the trail ride. Be sure to guard your legs with breathable socks before putting in the boots s as to avoid any blisters after a long ride.

4. Use apt sunblock for you and your partner

With arena horseback riding, this need not be a huge concern, but with trails, the wild nature is indulgent. with it comes sunburns, flies, mosquitoes other insects. SO make sure to check the locale of the trail and understand any pests or exposure before setting off on the trail. Using sunblock for yourself and the horse is necessary. The bug spray could help with all the bugs in nature. Horses could get easily bothered by these small flies causing them to people over and because accidents, so make sure to take extra care of your equine partner. Use horse-friendly bug spray so neither of you is invaded off of any fun on the trail.

5. Prepare the right snacks and hydration for the trail

Understanding the geographical condition and climate of the trail will help you in packing snacks and water. Non-perishable snacks like protein bars and nuts are all very great as they are instant sources of energy and keep you full for a very long time. Saddle up enough bags with water for the entire ride. For your equine partner be sure to carry some snacks if the climate is dry and humid. If on the trail there are green patches, let them stray and have a meal for themselves. Hydration pouches are very handy if the area is extremely dry and hot.

6. Carry First Aid

Prepping yourself for any emergency on the trail is extremely important. Usually, these trails are away from any habitation and hence any sort of emergency services are sure out of the way. Carry a compass, GPS, and a basic version of a first aid kit that could help with any unfortunate incidents. Experienced trail riders also recommend carrying a whistle just so you don’t get lost from the rest of the riders at any time. Carrying a durable phone could also help and be sure to either strap them in your saddle or a closed jean pocket as there is a high chance of losing them on the ride.

7. Look out for your partner

The trail adventures are only fun if both the parties involved are calm and taking in the experience. Always make sure to look out for your partner. Understand and feel their nerves. If they are fidgety or scared of something on the trail, make sure to calm their nerves, giving them time to grasp the environment and then move forward. When you are off on the trail, there are multiple perspectives at play. Yours, your horse’s, and then the real one. So make sure to chill and look out for each other as both of you are in this together.

8. Just have fun

Last but not least, just have fun. Trail riding indeed needs more prep and safety than arena horse riding, but do not lose sight of what is truly important- to have fun. Just chill whenever you can and soak in the entire experience as you go. You and your feelings will be permeated by your equine partner, so keep a great face and energy for the horse also to enjoy the adventure.

So for the next horse trail riding adventure, make sure to go through these tips and enjoy the adventure with your partner. As tedious as trail horse riding might sound, it indeed is a valuable experience on its whole.

Horseback riding tips for absolute beginners

Thinking of going horse riding for the very first time? It is normal to feel nervous and anxious for the first ride, after all, it is a large living animal that we are talking about. Horseback riding is a great vocation and a lot of fun once you get the hang of it. The significant point is to get trained by professionals and learn all the tips you possibly could for a safe and enjoyable ride.

So here are 10 tips for absolute beginner riders which when kept in mind you might probably end up being an equestrian.

1. Invest in the right horseriding gear

Just as the quote goes, you need to dress for the occasion. Long pants and the right footwear are considered the most essential for horse riding. The shoes could be anything that closes off the toes but the most preferred option is boots that are of low heels. These help with the right placement in the stirrups and avoid any slip up if at all. Be sure to avoid any extra accessories like long earrings, purses, scarves, or anything that could potentially get stuck in bushes, saddles, or trees. Wearing a simple yet functional attire is the key to moving forward. Last but not the least, wear a helmet at all times while you are riding to ensure your safety.

2. Greet your equine partner

Creating a friendly equation between your horse and you are an essential part of horseback riding. Establishing a good relationship with the horse is a stepping stone towards an amazing lesson and experience. Understanding that it is a living animal makes you appreciate the experience more so than ever. The horse itself could be overwhelmed and the small meet and greet before the ride could ease the waters of both parties. Just extend your arm and let the horse smell the back of your hand. This is often termed a horseman’s handshake and is often looked up to as seeking the agreement of the equine partner to successfully mount him. 

3. Be confident while mounting

The feeling you experience is very much transpired and felt by your equine partner too. So make sure you mount the horse with utmost confidence so the horse is also feeling easy and calm. Most of the time the trainer usually holds the horse still while you mount and hence the scare of falling or the horse moving from the spot could be removed from your system. The right way to mount the horse is to use the left foot and place it on a stirrup. Hold on to the reins using your left hand and push yourself putting propulsion on your right leg so you can mount as smoothly as possible. Be sure to not put your entire pressure on the horse as it could strain him. Just support is appreciable while mounting. 

4. Maintain a straight, calm posture

The best position to maintain on the horse is a straight composure that is calm and tall. The idea is to relax your back, holding on to the reins, with your foot on the stirrups on each side while balancing on the horse. Horse riding thus requires an immense amount of strength and stamina while balancing the posture. A position that is comfortable for the rider and the horse is the key element of focus here. The horse is to be given the impression of not carrying something heavy and enjoy the ride as much as the rider.

5. Tender touches with reins

Holding the reins depend on the type of horseback riding you are training for. With Western and English riding, there are different ways of holding reins. Like in English style riding, reins are maintained on each hand while Western-style focuses on both reins hold by one hand. It doesn’t matter what style you use, the idea is to be gentle with the reins and to always keep the horse’s comfort in mind while tugging or pulling. Steering to either left or right could be done by gently directing the rein and pushing the heels down to the stirrup.

6. Use saddle horn sparsely

It is often seen in beginner riders to overuse the saddle horn for maintaining the balance up there. However, this practice needs to be curbed and a more organic way of adjusting posture should be incorporated. Extend your legs a little more or use the reins accordingly every time you feel unstable. If there is a habit of using a saddle horn for the right posture, there are high chances of you falling over if an unexpected situation does arise along the way. Be sure to learn the right tips right away so that the wrong techniques could be avoided from becoming a habit. It is also to be noted that in the UK and other countries, saddle horn in itself might not be included.

7. Maintain your gaze forward

This might feel like a very usual tip, but for most beginners, the major focal point is on the horse. But this needs to be changed and fix your gaze on the trail ahead so that you can grasp the entire environment and analyze situations accordingly. Holding a straight posture up, while on the horse and looking forward on the trail is the right and optimum way to move forward on the horse riding trip. It is often hard to just focus on the road ahead when the equine partner is graceful and beautiful, but it is similar to focusing on your car while driving rather than on the road ahead. 

8. Be in sync with the horse

This has to be taken with a pinch of salt. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to let the horse do whatever he wants, but the idea is to strike a balance inc composure and the journey of the horse. Be the horse and try to flow with the rhythmic movement f the horse instead of resisting the movement. Be free and calm and sway from side to side as the horse walks and you will see yourself enjoying the lesson much better and also reduce the chances of any falls or accidents. Flow with the horse’s movement.

9. Take it slow

Gradual gradation is of utmost importance in horseback riding. For beginners or novices, it is highly recommended to just take a walk on the horse. Let the horse get used to you, and let you get accustomed to the position, movement, and overall feeling. The need to graduate and move to further movements could cause frantic accidents especially when you are new to horseback riding. So make sure to try and enjoy every single step in the training and keep at it. With time you are sure to get to higher levels of speed and agility.   

10. Dismount with confidence

Be sure to dismount from the house with the same energy and feel you mounted with. Always make sure your equine partner is all still before you get ready to dismount. If you could get your trainer to hold your horse still while you dismount yourself, there could be more calmness and safety to it. Show gratitude to your horse, provide him with some water and just appreciate the valuable experience you just had. 

Take a break, and come ride your horse on a dream vacation in southeastern Arizona!

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